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Chris Orton

Chris Orton is active as a recorder player, Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher and conductor. He studied recorder, viola and composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where his recorder teachers were Ross Winters and Annabel Knight, and then took further lessons with Anneke Boeke in Amsterdam. He studied orchestral conducting with Jordi Mora at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya (ESMUC) in Barcelona, and most recently Chris gained his certificate qualification in 2017 as a Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher studying principally with Bethan Habron-James in Manchester.

Chris has developed a portfolio career in performance and music education – dedicating equal amounts of commitment to both. He currently holds teaching positions at the Royal Northern College of Music,  Chetham’s School of Music, University of Huddersfield, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Junior RNCM, Musical Director of the  National Youth Recorder Orchestra, and conducts the Junior RNCM Chamber Orchestra. Chris taught for ten years for Manchester Music Service providing ‘first access’ and music and movement classes in secondary and primary schools and conducted the Birmingham Schools’ Recorder Sinfonia for Birmingham Music Service. He also was Assistant Musical Director with Stockport Youth Orchestra between 2014 – 2021, and their viola tutor from 2009.

In recorder performance, Chris enjoys the whole range of repertoire; in particular, he has performed a considerable amount of 20th and 21st-century music for recorder, often with live electronics or with other instrumentalists. He has been active commissioning new music, and in particular, introducing the recorder to student and professional composers at conservatoires throughout Europe. such projects have taken place at the RNCM, University of York, Krakow Academy of Music and L’Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona. Chris has also performed solo recitals at notable contemporary music festivals in Amsterdam, Krakow, and Huddersfield. Recently Chris has started incorporating newer designs of recorders in his concerts and uses both the Maarten Helder tenor and ‘modern’ altos made by Tarasov/Mollenhauer.

Early on in his career, Chris was successful on the international competition circuit. Highlights include winning the 1st prize at the Moeck/SRP International Solo Recorder Competition in 2007, a £20,000 BBC Performing Arts Fund Bursary (2007), 2nd Prize, ‘Prix du Jury’ and Gaudeamus Prize at the International Competition of Contemporary Music ‘Krzysztof Penderecki’ (2006), and the  Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians (2004). Also in 2004, Chris was the first recorder player to win the Symphony Hall Recital Competition and thus gave the first solo recorder recital in Symphony Hall. As a student, Chris was the first-ever recipient of the Biddy Baxter and John Hosier Music Trust award, in 2003.


Chris's professional activity includes:

Performance with live electronics, contemporary music, and improvisation. Teaching across age ranges and different levels of experience. Conducting youth orchestras and ensembles. Continuing study of the method of Emile Jaques – Dalcroze and application within teaching and performing practice.


Recording project (March 2016) with Thomas Simaku and Peter Shepard Skaeved for Naxos label.

Recording project (June 2022) with Soeren Sieg, his works for recorder and piano with the composer

Adjudicator for Moeck/SRP International Solo Recorder Competition, Prince’s Prize and Maisie Lewis Prize, Worshipful Company of Musicians, Live Music Now Scheme

Chair, European Recorder Teachers’ Association, UK

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